skip to main content

MU Welcomes Recommendations Made in Government’s Misogyny in Music Report

The report, which was based on an inquiry into what misogynistic attitudes existed in the music industry and why, concluded that much work is still needed to tackle discrimination and the harassment and sexual abuse of women.

Published: 30 January 2024 | 3:34 PM Updated: 30 January 2024 | 4:28 PM
Silhouette of a young woman playing guitar alone in the dark.
“The industry needs to change its behaviour and I hope this report marks the start of this change.” Image credit: Shutterstock.

The MU fully supports the recommendations outlined in today’s Misogyny in Music report from the Women and Equalities Committee.

The report found that many women in the music industry face gender discrimination, unequal pay and representation, sexual harassment and bullying.

As a result of the inquiry, recommendations include better protection for all freelancers, the prohibiting of non-disclosure agreements involving sexual abuse, harassment or misconduct, as well as ensuring reporting pathways are clearer.

We hope this will lead to a culture change in the industry that is long overdue

We are delighted that so many of the recommendations ask for the changes the MU has been calling on the government to make for many years. The MU are proud to have contributed to the report, both in a written submission and at the oral evidence session, to ensure that our women members are heard.

The report highlights the many issues our women members face carving out and sustaining careers as musicians, and the MU hopes that this will lead to a culture change in the industry that is long overdue. We look forward to working with the industry on implementing these vital recommendations.

Women's careers should not be limited by misogynistic assumptions

John Shortell, MU Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said:Women's careers should not be limited by misogynistic assumptions about how well they can perform and what instruments they can play. Women can and do work across the music industry in all roles, however this report lays bare how challenging it can be.

“We asked our women members to share their experiences with us to inform our response to the report. We heard examples of women not working in organisations and venues because of predatory men, about being passed over for jobs because they refused someones sexual advances and of being blacklisted because they raised concerns about reported sexual harassment. This can’t go on.

“Government must listen to the voices of women and implement the recommendations from the report. Perpetrators must change their behaviours and the industry needs to change how it responds when concerns are raised. I hope this report marks the start of that change.”

Read more about the government inquiry and the full list of recommendations outlined in the report.

We’re all too aware of the issues regarding misogyny in the music industry – it’s one of the reasons why the MU set up its Safe Space scheme a few years back. Safe Space provides an opportunity for musicians to share instances of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the music industry.

Our report in 2019 revealed that 48% of musicians have been sexually harassed at work and 85% did not report it. 61% also believed freelancers are at higher risk of being sexually harassed while working.

We want to build up a picture of the problems that exist and seek long term solutions. We are campaigning for laws to protect musicians at work and are on a mission to create cultural change within the music industry.

Representing and advocating on behalf of women in music

The MU has a democratic structure and a community of over 34,000 members. We use this power to advocate for women and build a better music industry.


Advocating through Women Member Network

Our Women Member Network is a dedicated space where women from across the country can connect, network and make positive change across the MU and the music industry. The Network ensures that the voices of women are heard, and that opportunities for activism and leadership are created.

Make your voice heard for women in music

Representing and advocating on behalf of women in music

Continue reading

A violinist playing as part of a live orchestra performance.

MU, BLiM and ABO Launch Landmark Agreement to Diversify UK Orchestras

The MU has partnered with Black Lives in Music (BLiM) and the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) to launch the 10 Point Orchestral Plan. The plan will enhance opportunities for all orchestral musicians across the UK, driving change for more inclusive recruitment.

Published: 30 April 2024

Read more about MU, BLiM and ABO Launch Landmark Agreement to Diversify UK Orchestras